The questions everyone asks about pirates and privateers - (image : Long John Silver in Treasure Island - 1883)
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Question of Philip (11.10.2015): In what year did privateers appear?
Texel warA: The word privateer is applied to both ships and men.
A registered letter of May 25 1206 was found of record to Eustache le Moine. This letter did not contain forms used in the seventeenth century, but it ensures Eustache’s impunity for all acts of war against the enemies of the King of England.

We can find the word privateer in a very old Latin text where Guillaume le Breton says:
"Septuaginta rates quibus est cursoria nomen
Quas pelagi struxit Richardus et amnis ad usum."

This text dates from before 1226 and shows that the term already existed. The word cursoria was derived from the Italian word corsario, who took the race and chase. No doubt that this thirteenth century occurrence of the word privateer referred to a ship, not yet to a man...
© painting: Texel war, by Willem Van De – Greenwich National Maritime Museum

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